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Apple set to invest heavily in Japan Display to stave off oblivion

Apple Q2 2020
Apple Q2 2020 (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Japan Display is struggling following the shift to OLED.
  • Apple was already said to be planning an investment.
  • That investment is now expected to double.

Apple looks set to invest more than $180 million into struggling display partner Japan Display, according to reports.

It hasn't been a good few years for Japan Display. Despite having Apple as a customer it found that the industry's move towards OLED was causing it problems, especially because it was slow to make the move itself. In fact, as 9to5Mac points out things were so bad that Japan Display couldn't afford to kit itself out with OLED production lines and it took a $636 million government bailout to keep things afloat.

Since then another bailout was announced to the tune of $723 million but after previous setbacks a new report has the rescue plan's main backer pulling out. The result is a $557 million black hole.

Troubled LCD maker Japan Display will not receive a financial bailout as planned from China's Harvest Tech Investment Management. The Chinese group has informed the display maker that it would shelve its plan to contribute 63 billion yen ($557 million) to an 80 billion yen rescue package, multiple people familiar with the negotiations said on Thursday.A spokesperson for the company, also known as JDI, declined to comment.The development could send JDI's restructuring plans back to square one. The company has repeatedly struggled to come up with a restructuring plan, and the Harvest Tech Investment Management's decision will likely worsen the sense of confusion at the Japanese company.

There is, however, some good news on the horizon for the beleaguered display manufacturer. According to another report the company now supplies the Liquid Crystal displays used in Apple's new iPhone 11 which will no doubt be helping the bottom line. Apple is also said to be considering doubling the amount it was already planning to invest, bumping it to around $186 million.

Apple was slated to invest ¥10 billion in the earlier version of the bailout plan and now is looking at doubling that amount to ¥20 billion in light of Harvest's withdrawal, said people with direct knowledge of the plan. The people said Japan Display hopes to keep together some parts of the earlier investment consortium including Hong Kong hedge-fund manager Oasis Management Co.

Quite where this story goes from here is anyone's guess and we wouldn't want to even begin to.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.